When insult reveals the inner boy
John Kerry’s not-so-remarkable insult of the troops in Iraq and everywhere else an American soldier stands watch shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The intemperate remarks of Teresa’s tall, gaunt boy toy are an accurate expression of the contempt the intellectual elites, and some of the notso-smart who merely aspire to intellectualhood, hold for what the rest of us cherish closest and dearest.
The senator’s slur in congressional testimony four decades ago against the men with whom he served in Vietnam — “they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads [. . . ] cut off limbs, blown up bodies, shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan [. . . ] poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside [. . . ] ” — was of a piece with everything he would say afterward.
Two years later, he suggested that the United States would one day dispatch an army of illiterates and louts to a place like, for example, Iraq. “I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown,” he wrote in reply to a questionnaire when he ran for a House seat in 1972. “[. . . ] I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply ‘doing its job.’ ”
That was the senator’s view of the country that he, with breathtaking chutzpah, once asked to lead. He knew his rant wasn’t so when he said it, but slander of the innocent was a small price to pay to the Kerry cause. It’s not just John Kerry who can’t put Vietnam behind him. Seymour Hersh, once a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has abandoned journalism for political advocacy in his declining years, told an audience at McGill University in Toronto the other day that Americans who honor soldiers returning from Iraq have got it all wrong.
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans. “In Vietnam,” he said, “our soldiers came back, and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation. It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you — there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq. In Washington, you can’t expect any rationality. I don’t know if [President Bush] is in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didn’t do it or because it’s the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program [. . . ] How fragile is democracy in America if a president can come in with an agenda controlled by a few cultists?”
Seymour Hersh does not explain who these “cultists” may be, but he doesn’t have to. The loonies courted by Mr. Kerry are so drunk on the moonshine distilled by the dark of the moon in the swamps and sticks on the Democratic left that they chug-a-lug it without even a glance at the label or care for what may be in it.
The most outlandish predictions of catastrophe and doom, of the sort the crazies usually insist are broadcast to them through tiny receivers implanted in their teeth by the CIA, are taken as Gospel. But no one any longer needs to listen to their teeth. There’s the Internet. One typical Internet blogger wading aimlessly through the fever swamps, perhaps after having CIA dental work after all, suggests that the Patriot Act will enable the president to abuse his enemies after this month’s elections.
“Will Bush do that tomorrow?” he asks. “Probably not with anyone we know, but who knows what the future holds? Who knows the desperate acts Bush-Cheney might commit next year [. . . ] Hitler didn’t appear evil in the beginning. He was an up-andcoming young man as he secretly gathered power, changed rules and strong-armed his detractors into submission. If Bush follows suit, we can expect the White House or the Capitol to burn in the night soon [. . . ] by 2008 the most power-mad president in our history could very well declare an emergency so great that future elections are suspended. Anyone taking issue with such an idea could find themselves in a foreign country naked, wired up with vicious dogs taking chunks out of their [rear ends] [. . . ] The Republicans must be stopped on November 7th.”
To pathetic loonies like this, the Kerry insult seemed not outrageous, but the timid work of a wussie. His “apology,” such as it was, was the outrage. Teresa’s boy toy should only raise the temperature of his rhetoric and turn up the volume, so the masses could listen to their teeth.
Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.